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hitek85 06-30-2009 06:00 PM

Basement Floor & Wall Remodeling...
Hello, This is my first post... So be gentle. :)

I did some looking around the forums, and couldn't really find much that addressed this, Sorry if it has been covered in a previous post.

I am currently doing research on a upcoming basement remodeling job. Its a brand new house that has been standing for about 2 yrs.

My intentions are too frame and insulate the walls in my basement. I had a few questions before I started buying material and going to town. :)

Is it better to frame and insulate your walls before adding a flooring. I am looking at the pvc type hardwood flooring? (The alternative to hardwood) I don't have any intentions of adding a sub-flooring & carpet.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

CyFree 07-01-2009 08:21 AM

Here's my advice.

1- Avoid using the wood frame, fiberglass, drywall combo in the basement, unless you love remodeling and would like to refinish your basement several times over the years.(and don't mind living with a foul smelling basement in between remodels). Even the driest basement has some level of moisture, because it walls, which are usually made out of porous concrete, are buried in wet and cold soil. So some of that ground water is consistently seeping in through capillary action.

In an unfinished basement, provided the drainage is adequate, that water usually evaporates inside the basement. However, when you line the walls with wood frames and fiberglass, all of which are very absorbent, they will soak up water and being either organic or having organic materials in their composition (fiberglass is held together using a urea based adhesive), they will support mold growth. In addition, humid fiberglass will loose its R-Value.

Also not a good idea to try to place a poly sheet between the concrete and studs. That will only trap the moisture behind it. US EPA and Building Science corp. recommend that you use rigid foam board insulation in basements as they will not soak up moisture and will allow the walls to dry inward.

The same goes for the floor. Whatever you do, do not install wooden floors, sub-floors or laminates. Nothing organic works in basement floors.

I suggest you look into flooring solutions designed specifically for basements. The kind that won't get ruined even if your basement is under a foot of water. Those products usually are made to offer moisture and thermal protection while also allowing the slab to breath and dry.

Basement Flooring Options

Basement walls: Do it once, do it right

hitek85 07-01-2009 08:38 AM

Wow, Thanks for the info! I'll definitely be looking into that. Ill check out the link and keep ya guys updated!

hitek85 07-01-2009 09:22 AM

So instead of using standard Wood 2x4 & 4x8 Drywall sheets, What a good alternative. Would Lowes or Homedepot carry any of those materials?

Nestor_Kelebay 07-02-2009 12:23 AM


I skimmed through parts of one of the web pages you cited in your post and found this:

"A number of factors, including heavy rains, melting snow, clogged gutters, downspouts discharging too close to the wall, improper grading or landscaping, and even a leaky garden hose can over saturate the soil around a foundation. The result is a significant amount of hydrostatic pressure against the basement walls that causes water to seep into the basement. Heavy leakages usually happen through wall cracks and at the junction between the walls and the slab."

It seems to me that the entire purpose of installing weeping tiles around the perimeter of a house's foundation is to allow excess hydrostatic water pressure to drain away, thereby eliminating the hydrostatic pressure forcing excess ground water into the basement concrete walls as described in that paragraph.

I'm wondering why that web site you linked to doesn't tell people that there should already be weeping tiles around the footing of their house's basement walls, and as long as those weeping tiles are working properly and aren't all plugged up with dirt that those weeping tiles will allow any excess ground water to drain away and thereby also eliminate that hydrostatic water pressure?

The cynic in me is thinking that someone there has a vested interest in selling more TBF panels. Cuz otherwise, why would an impartial company fail to point out that virtually every home that has a basement already has a way of eliminating that hydrostatic pressure forcing water into its basement? I couldn't for the life of me answer that question, so I thought you might know.

inspectorD 07-02-2009 05:31 AM

I have an answer Nestor.:)
Every sigle home built today is done to perfection, everything works and there are no issues for the first year. Still believe that?
This style of home drainage system is for folks who do not have the money to do it from the outside.
Not to mention all the homes which are to old to even have a drainage system at the exterior or interior. These systems really do work when you have a stone foundation.
Hope this helps.:)

CyFree 07-02-2009 08:09 AM

It doesn't seem to me that the article is discussing drainage and de-watering systems but finishing systems, and pointing out that basements are prone to moisture from a number of sources, including infiltration from the back fill and that for that reason, homeowners should avoid using organic finishes in their basements.

Virtually every basement has a drainage system indeed. However, if they worked as wonderfully as intended, waterproofing companies would be out of business and there wouldn't be such a thing as a basement finishing industry.

You do have a point, though. Although that is an article about basement finishes, it could briefly discuss drainage.

CyFree 07-02-2009 09:10 AM


Originally Posted by hitek85 (Post 31910)
So instead of using standard Wood 2x4 & 4x8 Drywall sheets, What a good alternative. Would Lowes or Homedepot carry any of those materials?

Most basement finishing systems are usually sold and installed by manufacturer's dealership network.

Hardware stores, however, carry some brands of basement wall systems and they carry generic flooring options that are waterproof. Go for floating and interlocking options rather than anything that needs to be attached to the slab with adhesives and such.

Make sure the slab can evaporate internally, so avoid anything that will trap moisture underneath.

I am positive you can find rigid foam board insulation I am not aware of any 100% waterproof option to replace the drywall, so I believe that if you might be left with the mold resistant type of drywall in this case. Provided your basement doesn't have any leakage, and you have a good sump pump system to handle water accidents, this might work.

However, I'd recommend you to get an inexpensive hygrometer and monitor the moisture levels in your finished basement. If you ever get readings above 60%, consider running a dehumidifier.

Here's some info concerning proper ways to install basement insulation you might find useful from the US Dept of Energy.

Basement Insulation Systems

inspectorD 07-03-2009 06:24 AM

one alternative
One option we do in basements is to leave all organic material out.
This is how it can be achieved.
2 inch styrofoam attached to the wall. Fasteners with washers or tins will work,.
Steels studs with a sill seal at the bottom of the wall to keep it off the concrete.
Durarock concrete board with a skimcoat, or fiberglass panels as a finishing system.
Tile floor.
Or get the kits from the guy's that sell the systems installed.
Furniture is another story.:eek:
This and a dehumidifier will keep you safe from most of the moisture issues seen in basements if the outside is moisture controlled.
Gutters, drain pipes and grade are most important.

Good luck.

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